11 Common Mistakes Too Many People Make When Shopping at Home Depot

Make sure you avoid these blunders when making purchases at the home improvement giant.

people shopping at Home Depot
Updated May 28, 2024
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Home Depot is the get-it-done store — a place where you can find anything from flooring for your entryway or lumber for building a treehouse in your backyard.

But it’s also a big store, and it can be easy to get overwhelmed. You might be so concerned with getting in and getting out that you don’t know about all of the “extras” that help you avoid wasting money.

So the next time you visit Home Depot, make sure you avoid these common Home Depot shopping mistakes to ensure you're getting the most out of your money.

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!1

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.

Apply for a Discover Cashback Checking account today

Forgetting the Home Depot price match

sigma1850/Adobe girl looking for goods on the shelf

Home Depot offers a low-price guarantee. The retailer will price-match many products from competitors.

That means if you find an excellent price on a specific bathtub you want at Lowes, Home Depot will match it if they carry it. 

Just bring a photo, ad, or other printout and speak to an associate. You can do this when shopping online, as well.

Not using in-store pickup or delivery

Joni/Adobe order pickup lockers for online orders

Have you ever purchased 40 pieces of lumber or 20 bags of mulch and wondered how you’re going to move it all? Next time, consider shopping online at Home Depot and setting up free two-day delivery.

The free delivery service doesn’t apply to all items, but many products are eligible. If you need something right away, consider curbside pickup or in-store pickup options.

Not checking the Special Buy of the Day

auremar/Adobe assistant seller helps buyer

Home Depot offers Special Buy of the Day deals. These items go on sale for a short time, often at a deep discount. It’s easy to spot the yellow and red signs in-store, but before you leave home, consider checking them out online.

If you’re in the market for something specific, compare the prices of these sales with those at other retailers to ensure you’re saving money.

Get a protection plan on all your appliances

Did you know if your air conditioner stops working, your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover it? Same with plumbing, electrical issues, appliances, and more.

Whether or not you’re a new homeowner, a home warranty from Choice Home Warranty could pick up the slack where insurance falls short and protect you against surprise expenses. If a covered system in your home breaks, you can call their hotline 24/7 to get it repaired.

For a limited time, you can get your first month free with a Single Payment home warranty plan.

Get a free quote

Forgetting about rebates

simona/Adobe woman text messaging using mobile phone

Another great way to reduce costs is to find out if a rebate is available. Rebates can earn you even more savings, sometimes hundreds of dollars.

It’s all managed through Home Depot’s Rebate Center online (just make sure you’re on the actual Home Depot website), or you can ask the customer service desk for more information.

Not using your military discount

Дворецкая Таня/Adobe man is shopping in the hardware store

Home Depot offers a discount on eligible products for both active-duty service members and veterans. The savings is 10% off for up to $400 each year.

Create an account online to verify your military status, and you'll be eligible to save.

Miscalculating what you need

JackF/Adobe man with gardening tools in the shop

It can happen to anybody: You plan to retile the bathroom and then head to Home Depot to pick up what you need. Halfway through the project, you realize you don’t have enough materials, and the retailer doesn’t have more in stock.

Home Depot can help you avoid such a hassle. The retailer offers a free-to-use project calculator online for many tasks, from the time required to install a new countertop to how much mulch you need for a flower bed.

Not asking for a discount on a floor model

phoenix021/Adobe woman choosing potted flower in green garden

Many shoppers don’t know they can get a lower price on floor model products at Home Depot. If you see a grill you like, for example, see if you can buy the display piece.

The store often sells floor models at a discount. It’s worth it to ask: The money you save can be used to fund another project or to boost your bank account.

Not returning items

industrieblick/Adobe storeman in warehouse

Home Depot allows you to return most unopened items within 90 days (although there are exceptions). Customers with specific types of accounts with Home Depot might have as long as a year to return something.

You can start the returns process on the Home Depot website. You might even be able to drop off the item you are returning at a UPS Access Point.

Not using the subscription service discount

opolja/Adobe customer unpacking cardboard box

Home Depot’s subscription service allows you to set up routine delivery of the items you buy the most. The delivery to your home is free.

Even better, you get 5% off every delivery, and there’s no membership fee to worry about.

Not using the Volume Pricing Program on bulk orders

jollier_/Adobe An aisle at Home Depot

If you're working on a large project — one that'll require a lot of lumber or concrete, for example — write up your project list and head to the Pro Desk. They might be able to save you a lot of money.

There, an associate will draw up a quote that'll often get you a lower price than if you grabbed it all on your own. You'll need a Home Depot Pro Xtra account for this service, but that's free — and it gets you exclusive discounts and offers.

Not getting discount wood from the cull lumber bin

joserpizarro/Adobe Scrap wood

Cull lumber is damaged wood or the wood leftover from custom cuts. You can find this wood at Home Depot, and it comes at a big discount.

If you’re looking for wood for a small project, head to the saw where employees cut custom orders. That’s where you’ll find cull lumber in a bin.

Some of it only has merely cosmetic damage, and the leftover wood is as good as new. If this wood fits your purposes, grab it, as it’s often 70% off.

Bottom line

nuiiko/Adobe man holds a credit card while entering data in laptop

Shopping at Home Depot doesn’t have to be a chore, especially when you take advantage of the many money-saving opportunities there.

For example, the retailer often offers clearance items, and you can skip paying for tools out-of-pocket if you just rent them instead.

The next time you need a home improvement product, remember these smart shopping hacks so you can get the great products you need while saving as much money as you possibly can. 

Discover®️ Cashback Debit Benefits

  • Earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month1
  • No minimum deposit, no minimum balance, and no account fees
  • Access your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay
  • 60K+ fee-free ATMs and make cash deposits at Walmart stores nationwide

Author Details

Sandy Baker

Sandy Baker is a has over 17 years of experience in the financial sector. Her experience includes website content, blogs, and social media. She’s worked with companies such as Realtor.com, Bankrate, TransUnion, Equifax, and Consumer Affairs.